​Superpowers and Sickness: How Being Pregnant Changed How I Think About Food — Life in the Kitchen

Standing in the tasting lab of the Colombian Coffee Federation in Bogotá, learning about coffee aromas, I listed off flavors I couldn’t previously identify. It was like the scene in Napoleon Dynamite where he declares that the milk came from a cow which got into an onion patch. My brain flooded with scents: jasmine, burnt rice, sweet pea. I was eight weeks pregnant, and had just discovered an upside to a condition that had, so far, only caused nausea: super-nose.

My hosts in the lab watched, impressed, as I instantly and flawlessly matched coffees to a chart of the flavors in various regions. I beamed: I had no idea where or why I could suddenly do this (theory is that the additional estrogen heightens the sense of smell), but I was already charting my future with super-nose. A sommelier, perhaps? Weeks later, I discovered the downside to super-nose when I could play “guess the age” of the fish on display in a Singaporean seafood market from 50 feet away.

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